KEN LEE, our Town Hall reporter, on a conflict of allegiances for a candidate in the South Norwood ward by-election
The FibDems have been accused of trying to be all-things-to-all-men (and women) so often, it is now becoming self-fulfilling.
Which makes Claire Bonham perfectly qualified to be a LibDem candidate in a council by-election next month.
Bonham, we gather (the dynamic local LibDem publicity machine has not yet cranked into action sufficiently to bother sending us any announcement of the outcome of its selection process), has been given the task of representing her party in South Norwood ward on September 7.
The local FibDems website (yes, they have one) has a sometimes incoherent blurb from their candidate in which she offers, somewhat boldly, “If elected I will campaign to empower the local community by ensuring that planning decisions are taken with real local input and for improved local services.”
And then, in true FibDem flip-flop fashion, she adds, “This doesn’t necessarily mean money but more imagination.”
She also mentions something about recycling – which is a bit rich from an incinerating LibDem – saying, “You now need more ID to use a Croydon bottle bank than open a bank account.” Which, as you might expect from a FibDem, is simply untrue.
But it is in her sporting allegiances that Bonham demonstrates herself to be a cynical manipulator to try to garner a bit of popular support.
It begins from the flawed premise that political candidates think that portraying themselves as a football fan might ever sway someone to vote for them.
On the website, Bonham claims, “I enjoy baking and following most sports, and can often be found … at Selhurst Park on a Saturday.”
The clear implication by Bonham is that she is a Palace fan, someone down-to-earth and shoulder-to-shoulder with the Crystal Palace regulars.
At least, that’s what she’d like the voters of South Norwood to think.
Her personal Twitter account, however, reveals the truth.
There, from a time before she was seeking elected office in South Norwood, she admits to being a Liverpool fan.
For her sake, let’s hope she never strikes up a chorus of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” when in the Holmesdale Road end.
The by-election has been called following the decision of a sitting councillor, Kathy Bee, to take a Civil Service job which is politically restricted.
In 2014, the last time that South Norwood ward was contested in a Town Hall election, the Liberal Democrats got a stonking 5.8 per cent of the vote. Labour won all three council seats.
If Bonham is seriously seeking support on September 7 from people wearing red rosettes, she could well end up with a smaller vote share.
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